Death’s Echoes by Penny MickelburyDeath’s Echoes by Penny Mickelbury is a Gianna Malone police procedural thriller that is all about how the hatred that infiltrates society doesn’t always win.

Police Lieutenant Gianna Malone has just lost one of her own. Officer Cassandra Ali is gunned down while walking to her mosque, and as head of the Hate Crimes Unit, Gianna is thrust into the middle of a situation she would much rather run away from.

Mimi Patterson is a gutsy journalist who isn’t afraid of digging into the ugliness others avoid. While she is Gianna’s long-term partner, they rarely talk work, and Mimi knows better than to try and get information from Gianna. But when Mimi finds herself in harm’s way because of her work, can she keep Gianna safe as well?

With years of each pursuing the truth behind them, and at times finding themselves at odds on just how to do so, will Gianna and Mimi’s relationship survive? Will Gianna and Mimi themselves survive?

The Characters

Gianna is a fine example of what any police force should want in a leader. Unafraid of leading by example, Gianna is more emotional and in tune with her staff than any other Police leader I have read, I think. Gianna as a partner is also pretty special. While she doesn’t fully check her work stuff at the door, when she is with Mimi you sense she is actually there, and that is rare in a law enforcement character.

Mimi is more than the stereotypical feisty journalist. Yes, she will do almost anything for her story. Yes, she digs deeper than anyone else she works with. But she is super smart, passionate, savvy, and does everything from the best possible place within herself. The changes that Mimi goes through in Death’s Echoes are life altering, and I am full of admiration for the way Mickelbury wrote them, and the way Mimi handles them.

Mickelbury writes great characters. I felt empathy, disgust, admiration and hurt towards various characters, and even those with the briefest of appearances left an impression. Masterful.

The Writing Style

My only complaint about this book is that Cassie is killed so early on. I understand why Mickelbury led with this, and it starts the book with pace, thrusting you straight into the purpose of the story, but I really would have liked to get to know her more.

The Pros

I loved the dynamics between the Gianna and her staff. The way those relationships and interactions were written was realistic and authentic, and Mickelbury’s strength for me is in her ability to show you those dynamics. I also loved how she wasn’t afraid to hit the hard topics, and hit them hard. Death’s Echoes is very much a 2018 story, terrifyingly so, and it is a brave author who takes that on. Mickelbury doesn’t just take it on, she nails it.

The Cons

The most disappointing thing about this book was that Cassie was killed so early on. She seemed like the kind of character who could have carried real weight in the storyline, and I was more than a little disappointed not to get to know her better.

This novel is full of themes of hatred and societal ugliness, and is not a light read. Hard hitting, this book is respectful, but will not be for everyone. If you read for escape from the world, this isn’t the book for you.

erins favourite booksThe Conclusion

This is the fifth book in the Gianna/Mimi series, but only the first put out by Bywater Books, and I sincerely hope it is not the last. Penny Mickelbury is an exceptional writer, and deserves the accolades that she has received throughout her career, but I am certain that there is more excellence to come. This book was impactful, respectful, and thought provoking, and it has most certainly made its way into my re-read pile. I enjoyed the character development most of all, and the exceptional interplay between the characters throughout the book make this a must read.

Excerpt from Death’s Echoes by Penny Mickelbury

The walk to the mosque was peaceful, a welcome respite to the end of the work week. Lost in their individual thoughts, the women had no sense of the danger coming their way. At least, four of them didn’t. The fifth and youngest of their group also was a cop – a member of the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department – and her brain was processing an incongruous sound: the roar of a big engine moving much too fast toward them. She turned her head toward the sound, saw the big truck, hulking like an animal, and knew trouble was approaching fast.

“Get down!” She issued the command and pushed her mother down at the same time. The big truck was upon them so the cop fell on top of her mother to cover her. “Curl up into a ball!” she called out to the other women, but it was too late.

“America for Americans!” the men yelled as their weapons strafed the prone women, all of whom were hit multiple times. “We’re making America great again!” The sixteen-year-old driver kept blowing the truck’s horn as the bullets flew and the men continued to chant their slogans. Then, the shooting over, two of the men climbed out of the truck and walked over to the prostrate, bleeding, and dying women. They didn’t notice that one of the women held her police-issued Sig Sauer.

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A Mimi Patterson/Gianna Maglione Mystery 

Keeping Secrets

Night Songs

Love Notes

Darkness Descending

Death’s Echoes

Bits and Bobs

  • ISBN number: 9781612941219
  • Publisher: Bywater Books

Penny Mickelbury Online


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Note: I received a free review copy of Death’s Echoes by Penny Mickelbury. No money was exchanged for this review. When you use our links to buy we get a small commission which supports the running of this site

About the author

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Married mum of two from New Zealand with a love for reading that surpasses her need for sleep.  Love reading books that are exciting, puzzling, twisty and suspenseful.  Always willing to try new authors and take recommendations, and open to discussion about great books with great people.